AFTER dedicating more than five decades of his life to the Outtrim Recreation Reserve as a volunteer, committee member and president, Doug Close is humbly retiring.
The warm and affable farmer from Outtrim has been a prominent figure at the Outtrim Recreation Reserve and the Outtrim Cricket Club for 52 years, and is a life member of the cricket club.
He was also on the Outtrim Primary School committee when the school was still active.
First getting involved at the rec reserve at the age of 21, Doug now looks back on his time at the club with fond memories and a sense of pride.
“My dad got involved with the reserve when we first moved to Outtrim. He was keen to get involved in cleaning up the ground and improving the facilities.
“I then joined the committee when I was about 21.
“When I first got involved, the ground was a mess. There were clumps of ferns and rough patches all over the place!” Doug said.
During his time some significant changes have taken place.
“The hall was built during my time here on the committee, around 20 years ago.
“We have wonderful facilities here that are the result of the group effort of the committee and the community of Outtrim over the years,” Doug said.
In small country locations such as Outtrim, communal spaces such as recreation reserves and sporting clubs are essential to the wellbeing and spirit of the community.
A result of the hard work and dedication of Doug and the plethora of other volunteers is the exceptional quality of facilities available at the reserve, including tennis courts and cricket ground.
In a gesture reflective of his humility and good spirit, Doug deflects any praise, and insists that the high standard of the reserve is due to the hard work of all community and committee members, past and present.
“There has always been a passionate and vibrant committee here from day one,” Doug said.
“Slowly over the years we have developed the facilities to the standard that we have today.”
Today Outtrim boasts a strong and active cricket club, having just won B1 Grade, C1 and C2 Grade in the 2016 season.
These successes Doug credits to the warm and welcoming environment of the club.
“The setting out here and environment for kids has been magnificent. It makes people want to get involved,” Doug said.
When asked how he feels five decades down the track, reflecting upon his time at the recreation reserve, Doug said; “I’ve gained a lot of satisfaction from watching the club and the reserve grow. It’s been a big part of my life.”
A celebratory farewell afternoon tea was held in honour of Doug’s commitment and dedication over the past 52 years on Sunday.